Friday, 5 February 2021


The market bubble peaking, according to available records and sales ledgers, on this day in 1637 before bursting, rampant speculation (see also) and deviation from intrinsic value, with single flower bulbs selling for what a skilled artisan or trader could expect to earn in a decade in his trade drove the Dutch Tulip Craze, generally understood as the first stock market crash. With a newly liberated—no longer the Spanish Netherlands—and wealthy populace captivated by an import from the Ottoman Empire that could be cultivated and coveted unlike any other flower endemic to Europe, increased demand attracted as many professional brokers as tulip fanciers to the marketplace, complete with abstractions including short-selling and futures contracts. Once the bottom finally fell out of the trade amid distress and recrimination, those left holding flowers and bulbs in the end were left with little recourse as no court was willing to enforce the terms of a contract, declaring the debts incurred through gambling and not subject to commercial law.